What are the Sunnahs of hajj?
1 & 2- Bathing and using perfume before entering ihram
Before entering ihram [the state of pilgrim sanctity], it is recommended for a person who intends to perform hajj or ‘umra to pare his nails, trim his moustache, comb his hair, and shave his armpits and pubic hair and the like. When a pilgrim wishes to enter ihram, it is recommended (even for a woman in a state of menstruation or postnatal bleeding) to bathe, intending bathing for ihram. The period between bathing and entering ihram must be brief and its duration is determined by convention; at present it is 12 hours.
3- The talbiyah
The talbiyah [chanting ‘Ever at Your service, O God, ever at Your service etc.] is a Sunnah without which a pilgrim’s hajj or ‘umra is still valid. Its omission does not entail any consequences though a pilgrim misses a great virtue by neglecting it.
4- Tawaf al-qudum
It is desirable to perform tawaf al-qudum [the arrival circumambulation around the Ka’ba] for anyone who enters Mecca for hajj, ‘umra or for any other reason, for someone who has assumed ihram from al-Hill i.e. outside the Meccan precinct or even for someone who is not in a state of ihram. It is likewise recommended for a pilgrim who does not fear missing standing at ‘Arafat due to time constraints, as for instance one who enters Mecca some time before dawn of yawm an-nahr [the day of slaughter] or a pilgrim who does not perform ‘umra before hajj while in Al-Haram. It is recommended for such a person who has performed ‘umra before hajj and then exited Al-Haram to repeat tawaf al-qudum.
5- Spending the eve of ‘Arafat at Mina
After arriving in Mina on the afternoon of the day of tarwiyah [8th Dhul-Hijja], a pilgrim is to spend the rest of the day there. It is recommended that he spend the eve of 9th Dhul-Hijja there until he offers the dawn prayer. He is then to leave Mina on 9th Dhul-Hijja after sunrise and proceed to ‘Arafat.
6- Spending the night at Muzdalifa
After standing at ‘Arafat in the recommended manner until sunset, a pilgrim is to proceed to Muzdalifa. It is recommended for him to stay there for at least the time it takes him to deposit his luggage and then join the sunset and night prayers at the time of the night prayer. It is recommended for him to have something to eat and drink and spend the eve of 10th Dhul-Hijja there. It is likewise recommended that he pick seven pebbles from Muzdalifa to stone Jamarat Al-‘Aqaba Al-Kubra after he leaves for Mina.
7- Supplicating at Al-Mash’ar Al-Haram
It is recommended for a pilgrim to spend the rest of the night of 10th Dhul-Hijja at Muzdalifa and then leave for Al-Mash’ar Al-Haram after dawn prayer to make supplications and invocations until the day lightens considerably.
8- Spending the nights of the days of tashriq at Mina
After a pilgrim completes tashriq [the going-forth circumambulation] at Mecca, he returns to Mina on yawm an-nahr where it is recommended for him to stay until he finishes stoning on the last day of tashriq [13th Dhul-Hijjah]. If he is in a hurry to leave, he spends two nights at Mina and then goes to Mecca before sunset of the second day of tashriq [12th Dhul-Hijjah]. If he is not in a hurry, it is recommended that he spend three nights at Mina.
The opinion stating that spending the days of tashriq at Mina is a Sunnah is the one maintained by Hanafi scholars and is likewise the opinion implemented for fatwa.
And God the Almighty knows best.
Staff of Dar al-Iftaa al-Misriyyah